Peter will be Master of Ceremonies at an upcoming two-day symposium called
"The Making of Precious Cargo - Childbirth and Cradle Baskets in California Indian
Culture." It will be held February 18-19 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in San Rafael.
The Symposium, held in conjunction with the 20th Annual Marin Indian Art Show, will
feature a premiere screening of the 15-minute documentary, "Precious Cargo".
The film was directed by PBS award-winning filmmaker Terry Strauss and is narrated by
On February 1, Peter's article, "When supporting only one
presidential candidate just isn't enough" was published in the San Francisco
Chronicle, in which he discusses his support for both Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Howard
There's a new documentary narrated by Peter now available in DVD and VHS called "Shaman
of the Andes." This film explores the life of an Ecuadorean shaman, Taita
Churo, and his traditional Quechua culture. As the modern world brings change to the
Andes, the shaman's son, Enrique, continues the ancient healing practices of his father
while incorporating western medicine. Shaman of the Andes provides a fascinating look at a
culture existing on the margins of the modern world and takes the viewer on a journey into
the mysterious world of the ancient healer.
January 26, 2004:
The 21st annual Miami International Film Festival will show 63 films from 34
countries and will kick off the event with Bon Voyage on January
30. Though not chosen to compete, the production was this year's French entry for Oscar
consideration in the best foreign language category. It will be making its east coast
premiere in Miami. In France it has been nominated for 11 Cesars. Peter will be attending
the festival along with director Jean-Paul Rappeneau and actress Virginie Ledoyen. In this
buoyant, fast-paced, romantic comedy, the French government and much of bourgeois society
flee Paris for Bordeaux on the eve of the German Occupation in 1940, taking up temporary
residence at the Hotel Splendide, where their worlds amusingly collide. Cast members also
include Gerard Depardieu, Isabelle Adjani, Yvan Attal and Gregori Derangere.
News tidbit: Peter will be the commencement speaker at the
University of Minnesota at their Morris campus on May 8.
Be sure to check out the movie, A Time for Dancing, on Showtime.
Based on a true story by Davida Wills Hurwin, the film is a poignant account of a gifted
young woman who fights to fulfill her dreams despite having been diagnosed with a serious
illness. Director Peter Gilbert has been nominated by the Directors Guild of America for
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children's Programs for 2003. From The
Hollywood Reporter (1/15/04): "Larisa Oleynik is superb and
altogether believable as Jules, a lithe and graceful dancer who has dreams of being
accepted at the famed Julliard School. She's actually pretty single-minded in her pursuit
of perfection, at the expense of her relationships with boyfriend Eli (Scott Vickaryous)
and best pal Sam (Shiri Appleby)... Then it's discovered that Jules' nagging hip pain
isn't something minor but Stage 4 cancer, to the horror of not only Sam but her parents (well-played
by Peter Coyote and Patricia Kalember) and stoic dance instructor (Lynn
Whitfield) as well. Suddenly, the fight isn't for glory on the dance floor but for
Spielberg established the Shoah Foundation ten years ago after filming Schindler's
List. A new web-based exhibit called "Voices of the Holocaust: Children
Speak" will be launched in March on the Foundation's web site. Narrated by
Peter Coyote, Elijah Wood and Natalie Portman, Children Speak will be aimed at American
middle school students, aged 11-14. It will highlight testimonies from four survivors who
were children during the Holocaust, and allow students to interact with the testimonies,
while simultaneously exploring historical overviews, archival film footage, a glossary,
maps, and survivors' personal photos.
The title of Rich Cowan's latest film, Main Line, currently in
post-production, has been changed to Shadow of Fear. Scheduled
to be released July 14, 2004, the film is about a man who goes to a lawyer seeking his
help in covering up an accidental killing. What he gets is a blackmailer who uses the
situation to his every advantage. The film's cast includes Matt Davis, Robin Tunney, James
Spader, Aidan Quinn, Alice Krige and Peter as Congressman Henderson. Described as a
thriller, the movie's tagline is "Once trapped inside, it's murder to get out."
In the Works: When Coyote isn't filming, he keeps busy writing and has come up
with a couple screenplays of his own. The first is The Baritones,
a goofy French farce about sex, cooking, murder, marriage, and opening a new restaurant.
Producer Michael Cohen really likes the script and has offered to produce it. The second
one is Pale, Thumper, and Bump - a young white man, in
repentance for an overdose that killed his pregnant, African-American wife, volunteers at
an all-black, Harlem high school, trying to 'give back' what his foolishness has taken
from him. He meets Thumper, a brilliant young hip-hop artist he champions, and Bump, the
local crack king-pin. In the ensuing struggle for Thumper's soul, we learn the value of
stepping up. He's also hopeful that he may get the chance to direct a wonderful script
called Play Time by Chris Green. It's the story about a very
provocative couple in a planned community and their effect on their neighbors.
July Peter emceed the Howard Dean kick-off event at the San Francisco Hyatt. Here's a clip of Peter speaking on the dangers of proprietary
voting machines. If you can't access the clip, this is the transcript: One last thing on
the Georgia Voting Fraud. It can't be proven because the software is proprietary. There's
a dress rehearsal. There's a website called Votescam.com,
and you need to look at it. And everyone of us needs to write our legislators and say:
"We want paper ballots." "We want transparent software." "We want
the government supervising the elections.Otherwise, what will happen is, at the end of the
day, the Police will take the voting machines, they will give them to the corporation, and
the corporation will tell you who won. There's a long history of documented voter fraud in
this country, and the dress rehearsal was the last presidential election. I narrated a
film for a reporter called Greg Palast. 91,000
votes stolen in Florida. 91,000! Go to Greg Palast.com
and look it up. Go to Votescam.com. If we don't stop
voter fraud, we're not gonna win this election.
December 3, 2003:
Peter has narrated an hour-long documentary, which summarizes the Bush Administration's
first three years and focuses on the broad issues of war, tax shifts, media consolidation,
civil liberties and the shredding of the economic safety net. Premiering in the spring of
2004, "There's Something about W" presents its story by using
the voices of the Administration and outside experts such as Paul Krugman, Molly Ivins,
Daniel Ellsberg, Norman Solomon, Chuck Lewis and Michael Moore. For more information,
Coyote finds outlet for his acting, activism by joining The Exonerated -
The Exonerated became one of the year's most celebrated plays during its
successful run at the Wilbur Theatre in New York. With a simple, almost spartan stage set,
the production chronicles the amazing stories of six former death row inmates who were
wrongly convicted of their crimes and eventually freed. The play has attracted such
big names as Richard Dreyfuss, Danny Glover, Aidan Quinn, Jeff Goldblum and Mia Farrow.
This month's long stand at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco features an impressive
list of starring performers that will change each week. Robin Williams and the no less
impressive Amanda Plummer were the headliners last week. Aidan Quinn and Montel Williams
replace them this week, followed by Stockard Channing and Brian Dennehy (beginning Dec. 9)
and, finally, Peter Coyote and Penn Jillette (Dec. 16 through 21).
"We've got more people under lock and key than any other
nation. And shows like this are a disturbing wake-up call because you are seeing, through
the actors up there, people just like you." ...Coyote
Brian McCoy of Record Entertainment recently interviewed Peter from his
Bay Area home about his upcoming performance. In response to The Exonerated being
described as a documentary play, Peter replied, "It's a lousy term. 'Documentary
play' sounds like watching paint dry. This show is not a lecture. This show, if anything
is an introduction to the fact that the people who wind up on death row can be just like
you. You don't have to do anything wrong. You can be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I can't think of anything more compelling than that."
"When the governor of Illinois stops capital punishment in his state
because 50% of death row prisoners are arguably innocent, it's just common sense."
Coyote adds, "And not one of these people (mistakenly imprisoned) have received
dollar one from the states that incarcerated them for 8, 11, 12, 15 years, but they have
received over $300,000 from the production of The Exonerated."
"Prisoners are a category of people we want to ignore," says
Coyote, "but each person who wakes up in the morning is a different individual. It's
our mental laziness that makes us lump people together into types. There are as many
different types of people in prison as there are out of prison. Some of them are innocent,
some of them were framed and some of them were really guilty and should never get out.
When you hear these stories, you realize that people do bend the facts, that does look
good on the record of the DA to get a conviction, and the pawn that they are using is
In the same interview Peter comments on his work as a narrator
"I started doing voice-overs while I was trying to build an
acting career. I have sort of a
sixth sense. When I read the first sentence of somebody's script, I get the voice and I
the rhythms, and I can just make that voice my own. I don't even know how I do that.
It does keep me out of a lot of bad films."
Journalist/film critic Thom Fowler met Peter recently at the San Francisco International
Film Festival. While interviewing Mark and Michael Polish for Northfork, Fowler
shared his desire to contact Peter for an interview for "Off
the Radar" and the rest is history... What interested
him the most was the actor's affiliation with the radical street theatre group, the
Diggers. He felt that in spite of Peter's success in the mainstream, he maintained a
commitment to progressive social change continuing to be part of an ever-growing effort to
move what were once considered radical ideas about nuclear safety, health, personal
empowerment and the environment into the public imagination and into the legislature.
Mailer (son of Norman Mailer) has become the new executive editor of High
Times. His first issue, which became available on November 25, begins a
total makeover of the magazine. The cover has a photograph of the actor Mark Webber,
a question about education reform and zero references to marijuana. Inside is an essay on outlaw politics by Peter. Mailer
says, "With the new High Times, we're using it as a metaphor, so it's not a
magazine about pot. It's a magazine about our civil liberties and our tag line is
'Celebrating Freedom.'" Check out the October 1994 issue of High Times, in which
author Malcolm MacKinnon interviews Peter about "Finding a
Pure Place to Stand."
Coyote trivia - With the release of the Indiana Jones trilogy on
DVD, you may have come across this tidbit - Spielberg's first choice was Harrison Ford,
but George Lucas was reluctant based on the fact that Ford had already been featured in
two of his films. A number of other actors, including Peter Coyote, Tim
Matheson, and Tom Selleck, were considered and screen tested. What if.....
Husband-and-wife filmmakers, Michael Rosen and Sharon Howard, continue their tradition of
championing the animal world through film. Three years in the making, their latest
venture, "Wolf: An Ancient Spirit Returns", aired on KOMO-TV in
Seattle back in October. Unlike the couple's seven other films, which were funded by
television stations and grants, "Wolf" was self-funded. Howard and Rosen took
money out of their savings to produce what they think is the first major program that
explores the fragile relationship between wolves and humans. Howard and Rosen are
hoping the show will air in other markets around the country. Peter also narrated their
award-winning documentary "Natural Connections", which explored biodiversity and
the impact humans make on the tiniest creatures around them. And he narrated "Return
of the Wolves" back in 1989. But what about the coyotes....
Reinvented.net had a blurb about Peter back in April referring to his interview on the
Canadian show, The Actors, which was shown on Bravo. The author referred to him
as a "true polymath." In case you have to look up that word
(like I did), it means, "a person of great or varied learning." I think that's
the result of growing up in a home where floor-to-ceiling bookshelves abounded. What a
blessing! In this webmaster's home we had a small two-shelf bookcase, which could hold no
more than maybe 25 books. All I can remember of its inventory is Cluny Brown by
Margery Sharp and The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham. Not even a bible, no
magazines. Check out the web site of Elizabeth West,
Peter's sister, and enjoy her treasury of delightful words!
October in Canada
Coyote taking a break from
(great photo for your